Lenovo Chromebook Duet 3 review: One of the best budget Chromebooks just got even better

benefit

  • 2-in-1 transportable type issue
  • 11-inch 2K show enhances the ChromeOS expertise
  • Stand and keyboard are included with the pill
  • Inexpensive

Cons

  • Audio system are mediocre
  • Outdated and bland design
  • USI 2.0 is just not backward appropriate

Throughout my freshman yr of faculty, I labored a part-time job that supplied me single sufficient to cowl my textbooks, transportation, and dorm charges. That meant that when it got here to purchasing a laptop computer for college, $1,000 MacBooks and ultrabooks have been out of the query. As a substitute, I settled for a “like new” one, underneath $300 Toshiba Chromebook 2 from ebay

That turned out to be a foul funding; the battery deteriorated quickly, the Wi-Fi connection was unstable, and finally the hinge grew to become so free that the highest half of the laptop computer got here off throughout an early morning commute.

Happily, immediately’s $300 Chromebooks supply a lot better experiences. the Lenovo Chromebook Duo 3 (2022) it is an inexpensive pill with a display screen designed to separate out of your physique. I have been testing the 2-in-1 for the previous month, and whereas there are some telltale indicators of a budget make-up of it, I can not assist however marvel how a lot better my school life would have been with it. as an alternative of the Toshiba.

specs

Dimensions 10.16 x 6.48 x 0.31′ in. / 258×164.5×7.9mm
Weight 1.14lbs / 516.5g

Show

10.9-inch 2K (2000 x 1200) IPS Touchscreen (400 nits)

Processor

Qualcomm Snapdragon 7c Gen 2

Reminiscence

4 GB of RAM with 64 GB eMMC (as much as 128 GB)

Working system Chrome OS
Drums as much as 12 hours

Digicam

5MP entrance, 8MP rear

connection ports

2x USB-C 3.2 Gen 1, pogo-pin (for removable keyboard)

Design

I will admit, the least thrilling a part of the Lenovo Chromebook Duet 3 is its design. Effectively, that’s, earlier than you connect the included equipment that give it its 2-in-1 attraction.

By itself, the Duet 3 is only a boring slab of plastic and metallic. The Storm Grey mannequin I have been testing has a two-tone design; the decrease half of the pill is coloured in a purplish-grey tone and the higher half in graphite. Collectively, there is a lack of distinction that makes the Chromebook forgettable and unattractive.

However wait, there’s extra! And I imply that in a great way as a result of when you hook up the woven-texture stand case and compact keyboard, you get a modern, multifunctional pill with a contact of ruggedness. With the included equipment, not solely do you get higher entry to viewing angles, bodily typing, and much-needed grip, however the pill is extra enjoyable to make use of.

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The Chromebook Duet 3 is a fairly full expertise for the little you pay.

June Wan/ZDNet

Show

Lenovo made two notable updates with the 2022 Duet 3: a bigger 11-inch display screen and an extra USB-C port. The previous is barely an inch longer than its predecessor, which was the suitable determination for my part. For one factor, the 2-in-1 continues to be as compact and transportable as ever. And second, the additional house, with its quirky 15:9 side ratio, is nice for leisure, net shopping, and all of the doc shopping you do for college and work.

The panel has a decision of 2000 by 1200 (Lenovo calls it “2K”), and it has been a pleasure to look at. I discovered the colours well-balanced and naturally saturated, and the Duet 3’s 400 nits get fairly shiny too. I had no drawback utilizing the Chromebook open air, even with the New York Metropolis solar shining and reflecting off the buildings round me.

Additionally: The 5 Greatest Chromebooks: From Funds to Rugged

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The 15:9 side ratio is only a hair taller than the everyday 16:9 panel.

June Wan/ZDNet

Having a second USB-C port means you possibly can safely join the Lenovo Chromebook to an exterior monitor. climate preserving it charged. This was particularly useful after I was testing the machine’s HDMI transmission, a activity that usually triggers diminished efficiency and intense battery drain.

Equipment

As I discussed earlier than, the included equipment do quite a lot of heavy lifting for the Duet 3’s performance. The keyboard, very like the one which got here with the unique Duet, is compact and responsive. Putting in it is so simple as lining up its pogo pins with these on the pill and snapping them collectively. Please be aware that the keyboard doesn’t assist Bluetooth or wi-fi, so you can not disconnect it from the pill and proceed typing.

When utilizing it as meant, anticipate a cramped typing expertise, with every key feeling barely narrower than these on a conventional keyboard. I would not go as far as to say that Lenovo’s keyboard is unusable, but it surely actually made my arms really feel a bit fatigued after an hour or two of use.

I had an identical drawback with the smaller touchpad, so I ended up utilizing my proper hand for cursor management and my left hand for tapping and interacting by way of the touchscreen.

Additionally: Greatest 2-in-1 Laptops: Versatile, Hybrid, and Convertible Laptops

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The included keyboard contains a row of perform keys and a clicky trackpad.

June Wan/ZDNet

Lastly, the included kickstand case has a slot to carry a stylus, although Lenovo would not embody one within the field. The most effective (and solely) rationalization for that is that Duet 3 helps Common Stylus Initiative (USI) 2.0 and never USI 1.0. Lenovo hasn’t launched its USI 2.0 stylus but, so whereas the Chromebook pill is “future-ready,” it is arguably too far forward of its time.

Efficiency

Efficiency-wise, the 2022 Duet 3 is powered by a brand new Qualcomm Snapdragon 7c Gen 2 and 4GB of RAM. What does this imply in apply? Count on a streamlined consumer expertise that handles important browser duties like taking part in movies and multi-window shopping, however nothing extra.

This can be a $300 Chromebook, in spite of everything, so its efficiency is sweet at greatest. Since most of my workflow entails cloud and web-based applications, I really had no drawback utilizing Duet 3 as my fundamental machine. Because of the twin USB-C ports, I related the pill to my 34-inch ultrawide monitor and was in a position to multitask like I’d on some other desktop or laptop computer.

Additionally: Lenovo IdeaPad Duet Chromebook (2020) evaluate

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Pair the Lenovo Chromebook with a mouse for extra enter and management.

June Wan/ZDNet

My normal work setup contains devoted browsers for emailing, analysis, and writing, with Slack and Zoom operating within the background. For the primary hour or two, the Duet 3 dealt with all of that gracefully. Nonetheless, as soon as the battery drops beneath 45%, I’ve observed the occasional stutter and lag when loading pages which have extra gadgets. Please be aware that that is with heavy use. Should you’re utilizing the Chromebook for singular duties and purposes, then the machine’s 4GB of RAM ought to do exactly wonderful.

Utilizing a Chromebook, not to mention the Duet 3, means you are restricted in what applications you need to use regionally and offline. So in case you’re dabbling in skilled software program like Adobe Premiere or After Results, I like to recommend wanting elsewhere. In any other case, Lenovo’s 64GB of inner storage is loads for a Chromebook, even in case you plan on downloading a dozen apps.

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The Lenovo Chromebook Duet 3 is appropriate for dwelling and cell use.

June Wan/ZDNet

Lastly, the 2-in-1’s audio system are sideways, reasonably loud, and have a disappointing lack of bass. There isn’t any 3.5mm headphone jack on board, so I might advocate pairing a set of headphones or earphones for the perfect sound.

Drums

Throughout my month of testing the Lenovo Chromebook Duet 3, I averaged simply over ten hours per cost. That does not match Lenovo’s declare of 12-hour battery life, but it surely’s nonetheless wonderful. Contemplating the countless stream of Chrome tabs and apps being opened and closed, the pill did a adequate job of managing energy and stored the battery life estimate correct and dependable all through the day.

Backside line

The Lenovo Chromebook Duet 3 is a formidable 2-in-1 that performs simply in addition to some costlier Chromebooks. Whereas its restricted working system and energy may be off-putting to professionals, the pill is appropriate for college students, touring employees, and informal customers who need a dependable machine for much less.

Alternate options to think about

Along with the Lenovo Chromebook Duet 3, listed below are three worthwhile options to think about:

HP’s 11-inch Chromebook pill, which is available in the identical dimension and side ratio because the Duet 3, is among the higher options. It has 8GB of RAM, double that of Lenovo, and comes with a kickstand, removable keyboard, and stylus pen. For added safety, HP has additionally embedded a fingerprint reader contained in the Chromebook’s energy button.

Whereas not as transportable because the Duet 3, the Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2 360 has a totally rotating hinge that makes it versatile sufficient to make use of as a standalone pill or common laptop computer. The display screen dimension is 12.4”, which makes the Galaxy a greater possibility if you’d like a greater viewing expertise.

Past the attain of Chromebooks, the Floor Go 3 is an inexpensive Home windows-powered laptop computer that is simple to journey with. Whereas the 2-in-1 is the most cost effective Floor but, it is simply as practical and transformative as its costlier predecessors. If you would like a transportable slab for shopping, emailing, and writing content material on the go, the Floor Go 3 is a formidable alternative.

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